Saturday, 22 November 2014

Alpkit BruKit Review: Part 1

Jetboil and Primus seem to have cornered the market on convenient, reasonably light, stove systems. They have various models, from lightweight one man systems, to heavier multi person systems. There are competitors, but only a few, Fire Maple being one of them. But now there is another, although it is essentially a re-branded Fire Maple. Roll out the carpet, the Alpkit BruKit is here.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

A long, almost eternal wait, has come to an end.

I’ve grown up with Pink Floyd pretty much most of my life. From being put to sleep by Wish You Were Here as a small child, to the rebellion that is The Wall, to being, as a teenager, overcome with surprise when I found they had released Momentary Lapse of Reason while on holiday in the Cotswolds. Then along came Division Bell, its echo ringing for twenty one years before finally being brought to an end by an Endless River.

Many people make the statement that they believe that they were born too late. This album makes me feel like I was born 20 years too late. By the time I realised how much their music means to me, Pink Floyd were already imploding. By the time I really started to appreciate almost two decades of their work, they had already split up. And just as I began to appreciate those first steps, ‘Arnold Lane’, ‘See Emily Play’, and the rest..........they stopped.
Fast forward 21 years and they are back. There are snippets of their past in here. David Gilmour’s bluesy, almost mournful at times, guitar licks dotted throughout. There are continued experiments with new and creative musical landscapes. It wouldn’t be Pink Floyd without them. But if you are expecting David Gilmour’s distinctly raw vocals, you may be in for a bit of a disappointment. Apart from the one track, they really don’t make much of an appearance, my one and only disappointment about the album.
I should feel happy about this album’s long, long, long awaited release. And in most ways I am. But one thing spoils it for me, it’s pretty clear this is Pink Floyd’s swan song. And so the twenty years too late point comes up. I don’t know how much longer I will live, twenty, thirty more years, more or less. But one thing’s for sure, it’s sad knowing there may be no more releases like this. I will, at least, have their back catalogue to listen to. It just won’t be the same.
So I think it is important to appreciate now, enjoy what you have, it doesn’t last forever.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Dovestone Reservoir: Scrambles Part Two

The Dovestone Reservoir area seems to have a lot of potential for scrambles. Many of the scrambles in the area are covered in the Cicerone book Scrambles in the Dark Peak: Easy Summer Scrambles and Winter Climbs. I’m looking at these as practise for bigger things, but these scrambles are all a challenge of one type or another. My first venture was to check out Chew Brook and get some photographs of the Wilderness Gullys while I was there for future reference.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Shr****d Wheat for some, Dreaded Wheat for me.

Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s the wheat, but which ever it is, we have parted ways. Feeling bloated after a meal that included either bread, pasta, or flour in some form was never nice. The painful joints, particularly my knees, over the last couple of years, worried me that maybe they were shot. Nearly 20 years of martial arts, I thought, had worn them out, and was now causing pain. It seems I may have been wrong, that life may have just taken a turn for the better.
By accident I came across a video on Youtube about the potential negative impact on joints in a couple of ways. That the Gluten in wheat can cause joint inflammation, and also make the effects of Arthritis worse. With a right elbow that is guaranteed, at some point in my life, to develop Arthritis, I decided I wanted to reduce it’s possible effects. I also suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which can be very disruptive, and cause all sorts of problems. Again, there are possible links between wheat and IBS.  So I gave up on eating foods containing wheat a few weeks ago. It’s been very difficult. Going shopping has many temptations, with the majority containing wheat; Buns, cakes, biscuits, my mums homemade Parkin. But I am finding myself trying new things. I’ve reduced my carbohydrate intake, and aiming to bring sugar right down as well.
But has it done any good? Well some changes can take a few months. But one thing I have found is that my knee joint pain has gone. I feel like I’ve gone back 10 years. And my stomach has gone down. I look like I’ve lost weight, but I haven’t. It’s the bloating that I strongly suspect was caused by wheat. Time will tell for any other changes or improvements.
This post is not entirely to do with stopping eating wheat, I believe that to be personal choice. This post is more about not allowing yourself to get stuck in a rut. That sometimes it’s worth taking the chance of making a change to your life for the better. I don’t see myself as on a new diet, I see it as a lifestyle change. With hope, it’s a step in the right direction to a better quality of life. Supposedly, a change is as good as a rest, it may well be very true.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Review: RAB Atlas, trousers....pants are y-fronts!

I’ve had a couple of pairs of RAB Atlas trousers for the last eighteen months or so. (Yes, trousers, not pants. As one fellow English blogger put it, using the word pants makes me think of Y-fronts. Strange that an English manufacturer should use a non-English word in that context. Especially considering that, as far as I know, the company founder, Rab Carrington, was originally based in Sheffield, but not sure if he was born there. Maybe someone could comment?) They have been very good trousers, and still are, pretty much. One pair in particular has been through the wars a little just lately. I thought it about time to review them and go over their pros and cons.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

The Roaches: Third Time Lucky. So That’s What They Look Like!

Well, they say third time lucky. I had promised to return to the Roaches in fine weather to get some better photographs. A couple of weekends ago, we had good weather, and I headed down there with a friend for a walk and to get some pictures.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Causey Pike: A View To and From

For more than two years of trips to the Lake District, Causey Pike has been in full view whenever I was sat outside the pub on an evening. I kept looking at it and wondering if it was as knife edged as it appeared from a mile or so away. The other week I got to find out. It’s not a particularly high fell at 2090ft or 637 metres. But it certainly is an interesting looking peak.


Friday, 3 October 2014

Name the boots!

Can anyone guess the make and maybe model of the boots in the photograph? I've had them quite a while and may come as a surprise to people. I may have mentioned them somewhere in my blog in the past.

Friday, 26 September 2014

When is a Wainwright or any Summit Truely Bagged?

I’m a little confused over what people consider bagging a Wainwright. For example, there exists in the Himalaya a ridge of summits called the Gasherbrum (translates to ‘Beautiful Mountain’ in Balti) massif. This massif is made of 7 peaks. If I climb the first peak Gasherbrum I and cross the connecting ridges between them all, summiting each peak, have I bagged them all? Or should I climb each peak individually. The worlds mountaineers seem to think so. Gasherbrum V and Gasherbrum VI remain unclimbed.
So transposing this to the bagging of Wainwrights, if I summit Green Gable and then walk across to Great Gable, how many Wainwrights have I bagged? I’ll be honest, I’m not out to bag all the Wainwrights, it’s a challenge I chose to ignore. I am happy to climb the interesting ones and look for nice views and meet nice people. I’m just interested in opinions on this as I find it intriguing. I certainly wont be judging peoples opinions. Please comment.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Haystacks: I get it……I think!

It’s name may be Icelandic, but Haystacks is a pretty appropriate name in my mind. Climbing over the summit has a feel of clambering over the top of a stack of hay bails. Positioned at the South West corner of Buttermere, a highly picturesque Lakeland Lake, Haystacks is one of the lower Fells at 1959ft or 597m. It has quite a unique structure, very different to the more conventionally shaped peaks around it. And appropriately, the site of Alfred Wainwright’s ashes.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

AQUAPAC Medium Stormproof Camera Pouch: The Good. And the Why?

My current camera case is a none waterproof type. It’s fine in the Summer, it will take a light shower. But heavier rain is an issue. If it rains heavily, it gets wet, and eventually the water gets through. The padding holds water and makes the case heavier. And worse than that, my camera gets wet. The advantage is that I can easily access my camera, and the case does a good job of protecting the camera from knocks. So what camera case for the winter. One that protects the camera from knocks and keeps the rain off. But still provides a reasonable time for access. I decided to try an Aquapac Medium Stormproof Camera Pouch which I picked up from a Outdoor Retailer for a little over £10. Firstly the key features, from Aquapac.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Should I join the National Trust?

The National Trust is a charity that purchases, preserves and makes access to historical man made, and natural properties within the UK. They are the UK’s biggest land owner. They use an annual membership, donations and money raised from it’s properties to fund it’s running costs. With around 3.7 million members, 61,000 volunteers and ownership of over 350 historic houses and properties, etc the National Trust is quite a large organisation. But is it worth being a member?

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Outdoor Research Spectrum Sun Sleeves Review

Due to a large amount of scarring, and a skin graft the full length of my forearm I’m unfortunate to find myself, like many other people, in a high skin cancer risk group. So although bright sunny weather is great for walks, it has it’s risks. This requires that throughout the summer I have to always carry factor 50 sunscreen, and apply it when necessary. The problem with these creams and sprays is they don’t last all day, perhaps up to 8 hours. And a consistent coverage all over is not guaranteed.  And when you have a high skin cancer risk, it’s a perhaps too far. I have to know for certain, because forgetting to reapply could be potentially life threatening. And missing a spot is not an option.

My favorite sunscreen is the TOG24 spray on type ( It’s easy to apply and quite resilient, but at £7.95 for a tiny tin that may last me a few days, it’s an expensive option. Lifesystems produce a nice SPF50 cream that works well, but it’s greasy. And at £8.50, is again expensive for the period of time it will offer protection (

These creams and sprays are great, but I think you start to become too dependent on them, and for me I tend to prefer other ways that are more consistent. In my case I have tended to wear long sleeve shirts in the hot weather which results in me getting quite hot, avoiding t-shirts. I go for shirts that are made of materials with at least a value of SPF30, but shirts with SPF50 are available. The problem with long sleeved shirts is that if I find some shelter, I can only roll the sleeves up so far. So how about if I could remove the sleeves, enter the Outdoor Research Spectrum Sun Sleeves.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Dovestone Reservoir Visit Three: A scramble and a lot of planes

If you ‘Google’ the word ‘scramble’ the first site that appears is a website about aircraft. Considering Dovestone Reservoir seems to site directly under the flight path of Manchester Airport, a scramble at Dovestone seems appropriate. After my reccy a couple of weeks ago I headed there in the early hours of the morning, straight from work. I chose Charnel Clough as my first scramble challenge there.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Dovestone Reservoir Visit Two: Chew Reservoir and the South Edge

I was back, and not alone………. Okay, not quite the way to start a post about a walk, but I was back at Dovestone Reservoir, and I was with a friend of mine. It was a little over a year since I was last here and the weather was better. The parking was still really cheap, £1.30 for the day. And I had a couple of reasons for being here. One was to walk the edge to the south of Dovestone Resevoir, Hoarstone Edge, and the other was to reccy the scrambles at Charnel Clough and along Chew Hurdles up from Chew Brook.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Aira Force Waterfall

Nestled in the Gowbarrow Park, an area said to have been popular for the poet William Wordsworth, the Aira Force Waterfall is a feature of the Ullswater area that is definitely worth a view. The Waterfall is situated next to Ullswater, on it’s western shore, very close to the T-junction where the A5091 comes down to meet the A592. There is a short walk up to the waterfall that will certainly pass on an hour or two. And because of my National Trust membership, parking was free. The car park is reasonably sized with a public convenience, a café and a National Trust shop. There is also a map of the area at the top end of the car park.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Glenridding to Howtown on water, Howtown to Glenridding on foot.

Nestled amongst fantastic scenery, Ullswater is the second largest of the Lakeland Lakes. It is the home to some of the most popular walks in the Lakes and I believe has one of the most picturesque drives in the area.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Green Gable, Great Gable and Fantastic Weather

Standing 899 metres high Great Gable, along with it’s 801 metre sister Green Gable are a couple of the better known Lakeland Fells. Seen from it’s more southerly or westerly slopes, Great Gable has a definite mountain look to it with a strong pyramid form giving it it’s name.

I’d taken quite a few photographs of Great Gable on past walks with some of the best from the Corridor Route returning from a walk up Scafell. It was these photographs that inspired me to make a return trip and head up Great Gable this year.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Latrigg, a Wainwright for Everyone

What happens when you take your car for a new timing belt and water pump fitting and it turns out the wrong water pump was fitted? It waits until you get to the best part of your holiday, good weather in the Lake District, and heading out to go up Great Gable. Then it packs up and leaves you stranded in a place where a car would come in handy to get to the peaks you chose to go up. And to cap it off, you can’t go too far away from the garage where your car is because they are unsure of the cause of the problem.

So if you find yourself stuck in a campsite just outside Keswick, you can’t go too far, and you need to keep a mobile phone signal, there are some options. In my case I chose Latrigg.

Monday, 23 June 2014

A walk around Buttermere with lunch by the water.

So this wasn’t a hard walk, it was really quite easy, but it was very picturesque. It is surround by such peaks as Red Pike, High Stile, High Crag, Haystacks and Buttermere Fell on it’s western shore. On it’s eastern shore are Robinson and High Snockrigg. Off to the south east is Fleetwith Pike and Honnister Pass running along side it. North west is Crummock Water.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Berghaus Vapour Light 20 Daysack

Other people's experiences may differ, but I have found that many of the rucksacks on the market with claims of back systems which will reduce the levels of perspiration do not work very well. It’s a little like the mistake of thinking that materials like Gore-Tex won’t make you sweat. It simply is, in most cases, not true. You still sweat in Gore-Tex, or Event, but this perspiration is transported away by the material in an attempt to limit the level of perspiration. This may not be true for everyone, some people perspire much more or less than others. The passive back systems on rucksacks are much the same. I’ve tried several packs and find that my back perspires regardless of the technology involved. More with some, less with others. When you have a rucksack on your back a micro climate is created between you and the pack where the temperature increases and you begin to perspire. This creates a highly humid space that I believe makes me sweat even more, much like hot and humid weather. In my case, it’s like the Tropics. What I have found is that my back perspires less with the Montane Medusa 32 I own as this has a quite small surface area in contact with my back. It’s this situation that has driven me to re-evaluate the rucksacks I own and possibly replace them with what maybe more comfortable alternatives. I’ve also made weight a bit more of a factor, so I decided to pick up one of the new Berghaus packs, the Vapour Light 20 day-sack.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Esbit Stainless steel solid fuel stove…….reasonably solid anyway!

I watched a video on Youtube the other day where someone was looking for a way to save 3g on the weight of his stove. I don’t know about others but that is just far to much for me. Saving a couple of hundred grammes is one thing, but to try and save 3? Each to their own. My own choices of stove have been either a Jetboil ZIP or a Trangia Triangle and alcohol stove with a titanium pot. I decided to see if I could drop a reasonable amount of weight without sacrificing heating ability.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Not a Horror Story – The Eagle Creek Pack-it Specter Quarter Cube

The choice for packing solutions for gear items is becoming ever more vast. It seems like every time I look on a website I find a new company producing stuff sacks, compression sacks and the like. It's becoming a bit of a minefield, there are some quite expensive products. I'm not keen on some of the ultra light materials as they can be a bit on the noisy side. I prefer Silnylon as it tends to be more abrasion resistant, and quieter. There's nothing worse than someone sat next to you rustling through a bag. I know that if you are wild camping there may be no one around. But I like to have minimum impact on my environment. Silnylon products are also generally cheaper. So I picked up an Eagle Creek Pack-it Specter Quarter Cube recently.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

There's no place like Holm........Holmfirth 6 Reservoirs Walk

I always think that there are places you have never been, little gems, not far from your door. Just outside Holmfirth, to the South West, are five reservoirs. They are:

Digley Reservoir
Brownhill Reservoir
Ramsden Reservoir
Riding Wood Reservoir
Yateholme Reservoir
Bilberry Reservoir

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Would you honestly trust your life with this?

I use fire steels quite a lot, they are a reliable way to start a gas or alcohol stove. They can be quite expensive, but they work up to thousands of times, depending on size. Emergency use of a fire steel is something I can't really see me requiring, but you never know. There are few areas in the UK where you are so remote it may take some time for rescue services to reach you. But if you do find yourself in this situation, here in the UK or abroad, you want your fire steel to be reliable.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Primaloft Information to start off a series of Reviews

Okay, so I have already reviewed the Keela Belay jacket. But I thought this information might be useful to show the efficiency of different types and weights of Primaloft insulation used in the jackets I already have and will review.

Thermal insulation has a value, a CLO value where one CLO unit represents 0.155m2K/W. This is based on the difference between a persons skin temperature and the outside temperature of the material. So a higher value represents a higher difference between your skin temperature and the outer material temperature, a good thing if it is cold. This means a higher CLO value is better.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

An Inspired Read

If you have read 'Touching the Void', you will know it is the grim recount of Joe Simpson's survival of an accident that almost killed him. Joe broke his leg on the descent from Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes and was initially helped down by his climbing partner Simon Yates. But as Simon lowered Joe, near the bottom of the mountain, Joe found himself suspended in fresh air after being lowered over a overhang. Unable to climb back up the rope, and with Simon in a poor belay position, Simon took the decision to cut Joe free.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

A Neon Fly and a Magnum

Okay, maybe not a walking subject, but it was a brilliant start to my holiday. I've been listening to Magnum since my late teens, around 25 years. For quite a long time I've planned to go and see them at the Holmfirth Picturedrome for about 5 years. Unfortunately a little car accident got in the way. Finally, last week I went to see them.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

A Peak, A Pot and Part of a Challenge

Known originally as Horton until the thirteenth century when it's name was changed to Horton in Ribblesdale so as not to be mistaken with Horton in Lancashire, this was the start of my walk last weekend. It's fair to say it is a popular place. I arrived around my normal time to walk and was surprised at the number of people already there. So it would be advisable to be early if you want to park, particularly on a Sunday.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

4 Fuel Bio-ethanol Gel Update

Okay, so following a comment from one of the 4Fuel team, I have conducted a second test with their gel fuel. I allowed more room for the fuel to burn by setting the pot higher on the stand. The flame is just visible.

Friday, 4 April 2014 skies and haze.

At the weekend I made my way up Ingleborough, generally known as one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks, and Yorkshire's second highest peak. The route I chose was quite conventional with a start at Clapham, a very picturesque Yorkshire village. The majority of photographs of Ingleborough as quite distinct, showing the same features. But the is a side to Ingleborough that is very different to the norm, but still a little familiar.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Fuel4 Bio Ethanol Gel Fuel Review

I've already done a review of the Bio Ethanol spirit produced Fuel4, which although performance wise is not a great improvement over Methylated Spirit, it is around the same price and friendlier to the environment, which is a great positive. I decided I would also take a look at their gel based fuel. I've used Green Gel Fuel in the past and wondered what this variation would be like.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

A Trio Bagged, Whernside, my favourite summit so far.

Part of the Yorkshire Three Peaks, including Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent, Whernside is at 736m, since 1974, Yorkshire's highest peak. In that year there was a re-arrangement of the borders and the then highest point, Mickle Fell at 788m, found itself within the County Durham borders instead. As a Yorkshireman, I felt it was my duty to tackle our highest peak.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid Preview

From an early age through to my mid teens rock climbing was part of the outdoor pass times we enjoyed in our family. From Wharncliffe Crags to Stanage Edge in the Peak District, through to Little Tryfan in the Ogwen Valley Wales I enjoyed the experience. Half way up Little Tryfan watching Tornado jets zip through the Ogwen Valley at your level and lower was amazing. So some of my walks are starting to trend more towards scrambling. Grindsbrook in the Peak District, Gordale Scar in the Dales and the little scramble found on the Corridor Route from Scafell Pike have offered a small taste of what we used to do, but I want to do more. So next year I plan on getting involved in Via Ferrata. So for more scrambling and Via Ferrata I have opted to purchase some new footwear. And I plumbed for the Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Little Whernside, big skies, a bit of wind and a lot of water.

I made a quick off the cuff decision to tackle Little Whernside this weekend. I had walked Great Whernside last year while on a holiday in the Yorkshire Dales. This time I set off in the early hours of the morning and drove up to Pateley Bridge and on up to the free parking at the head of Scar House Reservoir. As you pass through the far end of Lofthouse, look out for the Water Authority blue signs to the right where there is an access road taking you several miles to the reservoirs.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

OS Map Deals that Dash to you!

I just wanted to make a mention to a company called Dash4it that specialise in maps. I ordered an OS Explorer map on Monday 10th February at a knock down price. With the online discount, and an added discount sent by email I paid the grand total of £4.67. That in itself is really good when considering there was no charge for post and packaging. The real bonus was that the map turned up today, Tuesday 11th February. I have no connection with the company in any way except my order. That is brilliant service and well worth being registered with the company online.
I thought I would share such a great service with fellow walkers out there.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Wildboar Clough, Three Shire Heads and a sea of mud.

Incorrectly there is a myth that Wildboar Clough acquired it's name due to being the last place where a wild boar was killed in England. What it definitely is, is the place where I started my walk last weekend with the aim of taking in Three Shire Heads. It was also the muddiest walk I  have ever undertaken. Any wild boar would have been happy, almost as happy as pigs in mud.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

The Roaches - Part Deux

I think the Roaches have it in for me. I paid a second visit recently and as I got closer the weather closed in. I think this is episode two of a trilogy. I will be back.....I will be back!


Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Keela Belay Jacket Review

Keela  have now split the Belay Jacket into two variants, an Advance Jacket which is back to basics. And an all singing and dancing version, the Pro Jacket. The older version I am reviewing here, a pre 2013 single variant, was purchased in September 2011 and has had extensive use. I've used it for work nearly every day, especially in the winter. Or around camp when I am off in the Lake District, Dales, or where ever.
A doorman discovered in the Peak District

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Bio-ethanol Fuel, a Methylated Spirit alternative?

Based only a stones throw from myself, in Sheffield South Yorkshire, Fuel 4 produce a range of bio-ethanol items, including a fuel gel, liquid fuel and cook sets. To be honest, the cook sets look too bulky for my needs. But looks like a possible competitor to the Trangia systems. In this review I will look at the liquid bio-ethanol with a review of the gel to follow once I have done some tests. So what's the spirit fuel like?

Monday, 13 January 2014

Eyam - On The Edge

Famous for sealing itself off from the rest of the world following the discovery of the plague reaching there in August 1665, Eyam is a Derbyshire Village only a fairly short drive south west of Sheffield. So there is an historical attraction, but what about for walks? The walk for today was based around Eyam Edge, with the hope of some views.